Saina Nehwal powered her way into the semi-finals of the Denmark Open with a gritty 17-21 21-16 21-12 win over 2017 world champion Nozomi Okuhara in Odense on Friday.
After losing the first game 17-21, Nehwal scripted a remarkable comeback and pockted the second and third game 21-16 and 21-12 respectively to enter the next round.
Okuhara was extremely good with her net game in the first game and Nehwal committed too many erorrs which she failed to correct towards the end of the game. Okuhara ran away with the game with her deciptive net game.
The second game also began on similar lines but then Nehwal pushed Okuhara to the back court, on instruction of Parupalli Kashyap who was in the coach’s corner. That made a difference to her game and she was the aggressive player throughout.
Okuhara once again tried to use the net game to her favour, like in the first game but this time Nehwal did not committed errors at the net. Nehwal ran away with the lead in the third game and forced Okuhara to commit net errors.
This was Nehwal’s first win over Okuhara in last four games and seventh in 11 encounters between the two players. The Indian last defeated Okuhara the All England Championships last year.
Srikanth over Sameer
In men’s singles, Kidambi Srikanth also progressed to the semi-finals with a win over compatriot Sameer Verma in the quarter-finals. Srikanth will next face world number one Kento Momota.
Defending champion Srikanth ended Verma’s impressive run with a 22-20 19-21 23-21 win.
Sameer had a good run at the Denmark Open where he beat Asian Games gold medallist Jonatan Christie of Indonesia to reach the quarters. Srikanth on the other had beaten Lin Dan 18-21 21-17 21-16.